Projects at end of fiscal rouse suspicion
DAILEKH, July 7
At a time when the current fiscal is drawing to a close, district development committee of Dailekh is said to be in a rush to spend the budget meant for a number of irrigation projects.
Recently, the DDC decided to allocate Rs 42 million that it had received under the heading of Small Irrigation Project (SIP) by forming consumer committees without holding any meeting.
It is said that amidst the dilemma whether to send the budget back or spend it, the DDC, buckling under the pressure of the interest of leaders of so-called large parties CPN-UML and Nepali Congress, had decided to launch the projects in the 11th hour.
According to sources, the projects whose fate were determined by mid-June were all backdated by up to one month.
SIP is a programme that gets 58 per cent of the budget from a Swish development agency while Nepal government chips in 38 per cent of the total budget. For the programme this fiscal, 19 projects at different places of the district had been selected.
“The selection of non-prioritised projects has, in fact, downplayed the small irrigation master plan,” said Rastriya Janamorcha district Secretary Kabiraj Khatri, adding, “It had taken almost two years to devise the masterplan, but if the DDC acts at the behest of big shots of local political parties, I don’t see any use of such plans.”
The projects selected are located in Awalparajul, Lankuri, Chauratha, Rakamkarnali, Pipalbot, Singaudi, Gamaudi, Baraha, Jambukandh, Layatib Bindrasauni, Salleri and Lalikanda VDCs and Narayan municipality.
According to sources, the DDC and leaders of ruling parties distributed the budget by forming the so-called consumer committees comprising political cadres on their own.
“As the users committees were formed without calling a mass gathering, there is ample room to suspect irregularity,” claimed sources.
Pipalkot’s Dip Bahadur Basnet revealed how an agreement to launch the Deurali-Bhitrikhola irrigation project was sealed by making a so-called consumer committee comprising party men.
District Technician’s Office acting chief Prabhakar Prasad Singh, on his part, denied the charge of irregularity. “It’s true that we selected the project late, but it happened as the budget came late,” he said.
Regarding locals complaints about technicians seeking kickback while giving the green signal to projects, LDO Hari Pyakurel pledged action if evidence was found.